As you can imagine, having been to Oktoberfest in Munich and various other German festivals here and there, I get asked one particular question over and over and that is: “What is that on your face?” After explaining that I’ve been eating Nutella-filled crêpes with the voracity of a hungry lioness, I end up answering question after question on how to dress for Oktoberfest.
- What do you wear?
- Well, where did you get it?
- What’s it called again?
- Do you have to wear that?
Answering all of these I almost always end up giving away too much information on my cup size. This post will be no different.
HOW TO DRESS FOR OKTOBERFEST
I’m usually not one for giving fashion advice as you can tell by this post, this post, and like, every single photo of me on this blog. And the fact that I think I’m wearing men’s socks right now but I’m not entirely sure. But if there’s one thing I know (there is actually only one thing I know) it’s how to dress for Oktoberfest.
Turns out I love being asked about this time after time because, besides the fact that a dirndl is my absolute favorite thing to wear, I finally feel like one of the cool kids and not the dweeb who accidentally wore the same shirt for yearbook photos three years in a row. (True story. Moving on.)
However, I’d like to be perfectly clear here–I don’t know shit about lederhosen. This post is just for you, girl–even though I may have misled you having mentioned my boobies in the first paragraph.
DO YOU HAVE TO WEAR A DIRNDL TO OKTOBERFEST?
Officially? No. Wear whatever you want. Jeans and a t-shirt are fine. Unofficially? Yes, godammit. Don’t you dare wear jeans and a t-shirt.
I can recall one, maybe two people not dressed up among the THOUSANDS at Oktoberfest and you know what? It’s almost offensive. Like, how dare you show up here with your pants and lack of cleavage. How. Dare. You. I can’t imagine it’s any fun being that one dinkus who shows up to your boss’s house thinking it’s a costume party when it’s not–and the same goes for the reverse. Don’t be the opposite of a fool in a chicken suit at a formal office party.
You should also read: Do This, Not That // Oktoberfest
WHAT TO WEAR FOR OKTOBERFEST
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the traditional Bavarian dress worn at Oktoberfest by women and a select few dudes (you’ll see…) is known as a dirndl. At its most basic it consists of a dress, an apron, and a white shirt–the term “shirt” being used very, very loosely despite the garment’s sheer death grip. It’s a tight boob cover with sleeves.
ANATOMY OF A DIRNDL
Like any anatomy lesson worth its weight in formaldehyde, we’re gonna dissect this sum’bitch from head to toe. Here’s what you’ll need:
- White blouse | …whose primary function, I can only assume, is simply to cover up your bra. In some cases however it may be used as a backup source of support to the goods inside trying their damnedest to liberate themselves. PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWERS–itty bitty living space.
- The dress | One basic silhouette (a fashion word I learned from getting married), varying lengths and materials, infinite designs and colors. Is really good at hiding all evidence of excess beer consumption. Looks good on every body–yes, even yours.
- An apron | …because sometimes the fashion gods throw us a bone.
- Shoes | Flat, black, comfortable, don’t mind getting beer spilled on them. As I’ve said in like every single blog post, I’m obsessed with Skechers memory foam shoes and I have a pair for Oktoberfest as well. Oktoberfest is dancing, walking, standing all the live long day so wear the closest thing you can get to house slippers. Here are my picks for you:
- Socks… maybe | In 2014 it was cold so I wore knee socks. In 2016 it was hot so I didn’t. Rocket science. What will happen at Oktoberfest 2018? Who knows! Stay tuned…
- Booty shorts | In a continuing effort to NOT star in America’s next viral video, anytime the combination of a dress and dancing on benches is concerned, I wear shorts underneath. Call me a prude or an old hag, just don’t call me “Drunk Chick at Oktoberfest Falls Off Bench and Shows Crowd Her Hoo-ha”.
- Jewelry | Keep. It. Simple. This is not a Mr. T look-alike contest. You are (probably) not an eccentric 75-year-old woman with a fur collection and a bank account that won’t quit. But with all that open chest space (insert correct fashion term here), your neck needs a little sumpin’. I like to represent for the gluten gluttons of the world with a small pretzel necklace. As of this year I’ve also added a simple gold cuff to match with the coordinates to one of my favorite earthly places–Munich, Germany. Here are some of my favorite pretzel necklaces from Amazon:
- Sterling Silver CZ Stone Set Pretzel Pendant Necklace
- Gold Toned Pretzel Necklace
- My Very Best Pretzel Heart Necklace (in silver or gold)
- These pretzel earrings (!!!)
- A cookie necklace | The lubkuchenherz are totally optional but be advised you can eat it in a moment of dire starvation. But will there be a moment of dire starvation after your second or third liter of lager? Yes, yes, a million times, YES!
- A hairdo | There are so many freaking adorable Oktoberfest hairstyles out there–braids and buns and pigtails and fishtails–but my dexterity is comparable to a penguin wearing oven mitts so I just let it hang. Will someone please come to my house and do this to me? Don’t be like me; don’t let it just hang. And speaking of not letting things hang…
- A bra | Maybe you need a lil’ help in this category, maybe you don’t. Maybe you have all those glorious back problems I’ve always dreamed of, maybe you look like a boy in a bandeau. If you’re in Group A (AKA Group DD), continue on to the next section. If you’re here with me in the group that had to have TWO sets of padded cups sewn into her strapless wedding gown, listen up. Before my first Oktoberfest I walked into Victoria’s Secret and asked the salesperson, “Aiight. How much cleavage can you get me?” She replied, “OOOH, honey.” And thus a beautiful, everlasting, semi-pornographic relationship with the Bombshell was born. Hello there D squad; mama’s home.
And for packing your bra, I can’t recommend this hard-case bra carrier enough! Obviously, because I always do.
HOW TO WEAR YOUR DIRNDL
Keep in mind this is coming from the girl who, nine times out of ten, can’t tell whether she’s trying on a skirt or a shirt. Last week I wore FIVE shirts and a winter coat all the way from Amsterdam to America because I couldn’t close my suitcase.
So there are a handful of unspoken rules to dirndl-wearing at Oktoberfest and two handfuls if you’re doing it right. Well, I’m about to speak them.
- For starters, for the love of all that is good and pure, DO NOT WEAR A HALLOWEEN COSTUME to Oktoberfest. Dirndls are sexy enough as-is; there’s no need to invite slutty beer wench to the party. Oktoberfest is a merry celebration where friendly, kind-hearted people from all over the world come together to celebrate their love of beer and Bavarian culture in a warm and welcoming environment. But we will judge the fuck out of you.
- On a similar note–actually, most of these steer you in the direction of being not skanky–your dirndl should fall somewhere between the tops of your knees and your ankles*. Nobody wants to see your schnitzel.
*Unless you’re incredibly short like me and look vaguely like an Amish woman on her way to milk a cow in anything below the knee.
- Please. Wear. The blouse. Or perhaps consider taking a page from Anita Appleby‘s acclaimed book Of Course You’re Still Single, Take a Look at Yourself You Dumb Slut. You’re an embarrassment to intelligent women everywhere.
- A dirndl dress should never go under your ta-tas. Let the Bombshell do all the pushing-up. That’s what it was genetically bred in a secret laboratory on Venus to do.
HOW YOU TIE YOUR DIRNDL APRON MATTERS
You can’t just put that bow any ol’ place, girl. Where on your body you tie your bow implies your relationship status and level of willingness to allow some guy to buy you an oversized gingerbread cookie that says “eat me.”
- Tie the bow on your right — you’re taken. “Thanks for the cookie. My husband loves gingerbread.”
- Tie the bow on your left — you’re single. “Come to mama!”
- Tie the bow front and center — you’re a virgin. “GIMME THAT DAMN COOKIE!”
- Tie the bow in the back — you’re a waitress. “I only accept cash, sonny.”
See? I’ve tied my bow on my right–that means I’m taken. I’m also shooting bullseyes so that means I’m also a force to be reckoned with so you better just hand over the cookie so nobody gets hurt.
This guy has tied his apron in the middle. As if we needed the secret bow signal to tell us he’s a virgin.
I made a video to illustrate this very point! ⇣⇣⇣
WHERE TO BUY DIRNDLS FOR OKTOBERFEST
Before I answer this there’s a question you need to ask yourself: when will you be buying your dirndl? Before your trip or after you’ve arrived in Munich? There are pros and cons to each just as there are pros and cons to accepting sugary treats from strangers.
BUYING YOUR DIRNDL BEFORE YOUR TRIP
- Dirndl prices on the internet are much lower than they are in Germany during Oktoberfest.
- You’ll have plenty of time for any needed alterations. I purchased my newest dirndl online and had to get the skirt taken up a few inches because Amish and the bust taken in a, ahem, few feet. Small boobs, big dreams–I always say.
I also had to sew on a pocket because my new dirndl came with one pocket. ONE! How infuriating is that? So yeah, I sewed. It’s amazing what you can do with YouTube and an old pillowcase. I’m like the MacGyver of fashion. That explains so much of the safety pins and super glue…
- You have an entire internet’s worth of designs and colors to choose from.
- You don’t have to waste precious drinking time in a store sweating in borrowed wool.
- Depending on where you buy it, there’s a chance the quality could be… ehh… less than magnificent.
- There’s a good chance you’ll be one of many wearing that exact getup.
- Neither of those really matters anyway because BEER FESTIVAL.
- When buying online, pay special attention to whether you’re buying all 3 pieces together or if the blouse is sold separately.
WHERE TO BUY YOUR DIRNDL ONLINE
AMAZON | Because if you can buy pre-filled communion cups and a cookbook of placenta recipes on Amazon, you sure as shit can buy your dirndl there. Stay away from anything that looks like something Miley Cyrus would wear to an award show and you’ll be fine. Here are some of my favorites:
- 3-piece Floral
- 3-piece light blue / black
- 3-piece blue / gold (⇠ OMG love this one.)
- and the other Ashley’s black and yellow one from above
ALPENCLASSICS (known in some circles at Stockerpoint) | The only problem with this site is you’ll want every last one of ’em. This is where I bought my dirndl for Oktoberfest 2016, shown in the top two photos. You can filter by length, purchase the blouse separately, and even hit up the sale rack–says the girl who’s currently wearing a shirt that cost $1.99. Here are some of my favorites from Alpenclassics:
- 2-piece silver / coral
- 2-piece light gray
- and this 2-piece blue and white for some reason–even though it looks like a giant sneaker.
RARE DIRNDL | If you’re in the Chicago (or anywhere in close proximity to a mailbox) area, Rare Dirndl has fabulous dirndls made right here in the USA. They offer free shipping, free returns, and–the bomb diggity–custom made dirndls. I gots to gets me one o’ deez. Erika, the owner, personally designs all of these and they are truly unique. ** Use promo code: MYWANDERLUSTYLIFE for 10% off your first purchase at RareDirndl.com!
Some of my faves:
- the Rumpelstiltskin Dirndl
- the Ero Dirndl (NEED THIS)
- the In Bloom Dirndl that you can wear about a million and a half different ways
UPDATE: Rare Dirndl’s latest collection is dropping March 2018 so stay tuned!
SOME OTHER ONLINE RETAILERS I HAVE NO EXPERIENCE WITH |
BUYING YOUR DIRNDL IN MUNICH
- You bought it in Munich! That makes it, unlike some of the cleavage you’ll see these two weeks, the real deal.
- You can try it on before you buy it. I have friends who buy clothes all the time without trying them on. And to them I say, “Sumthin’ wrong wich you!” In the case of 2016 when I purchased my dirndl online, I already knew my sizes/measurements. I also KNEW I’d need alterations so I bought it well in advance. However, if this is your first experience purchasing a dirndl, you may need in-person help from a saleswoman who knows nothing of modesty and speaks no English.
- In Munich… during Oktoberfest… expect to pay a lot more for your dirndl than you would online.
- Availability is limited. Possibly in your size, the colors you like, your desired price range, and especially dolla billz in your wallet.
- You have to take precious time out of your packed vacation/drinking schedule for shopping. I can’t think of anything worse. Except maybe…
- No time for alterations. Maybe I could’ve stuffed my bra a little more but had I not been able to add a second pocket to my dirndl I would have LOST. MY. MIND. I may need to seek counseling–I’m aware of this.
- Sometimes the criss-crossy string (is there a fashion term for that?) is not actually on the dirndl when you buy it. It’s included in the price just don’t forget to grab one out of the basket.
- If you attend Oktoberfest towards the end of the festival, you can get some WUNDERBAR deals on dirndls around the Theresienwiese. Red stickers fa dayz.
- Take your Bombshell with you to try on dirndls. What fits an A-cup won’t later fit a D-cup; it’s simple arithmetit.
WHERE TO BUY DIRNDLS IN MUNICH
ORIGINAL STEINDL | Located just off the Marienplatz where all the shops are. If there’s a guy playing the accordion or a group of dudes banging on buckets nearby, you’re in the right place. This is where I bought my first dirndl way back in 2012.
A saleswoman approached me, speaking no English whatsoever. I led her outside and pointed to one of the dirndls in the window display that I liked. She looked me up and down, boobs to ankles, the same way that jealous bitch in your office does, then disappeared. She came back with all the pieces in the EXACT right sizes that fit me PERFECTLY. I was in and out in a matter of minutes. Side note: This was May, not September.
I love the selection here but some sizes may only have two or three options and not every design is available in every size. Just like, when are we gonna get teacup elephants?
GALERIA KAUFHOF | Think of it as the German Macy’s that’s also near the Marienplatz. Up the escalators to the 2nd floor (I believe, please correct me if I’m wrong) is the women’s dirndl department. Excuse me, the person’s dirndl department, as we’ve so unwillingly learned. Could buying a dirndl be any simpler? Not to mention your bath towels and spatulas and men’s wallets aren’t that far away either!
ANY DAMN PLACE | If there’s one thing Munich, Germany does superbly after beer and brats for breakfast, it’s dirndl pop-up shops. Small (but often pricey) dirndl shops are more prevalent throughout the city during Oktoberfest than college undergrads who have “totally lost their friends omigod!”
There are a few near the Marienplatz, some in the Hauptbahnhof train station, but the most I saw were on the walk from the Theresienwiese to Hauptbahnhof. This short walk will yield more cleavage-producing dresses than a stroll down the Vegas strip.
IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME! (⇠Now closed)
Because you can only get these at a small souvenir shop somewhere down an alley in Munich, I’m giving away TWO brand new PRETZEL NECKLACES to complement your beer-guzzling getup.
I wear mine to every Oktoberfest, beer festival, and trip to Target I attend and have done so since 2012. I get so many compliments on these and they make the perfect accessory to any dirndl. Who knew I’d be the one to solve your jewelry queries?
The contest will run until 12:00am EST on 4/21/17. Two winners will be chosen at random; the first will be given the choice between silver and gold. Open to U.S. mailboxes only and I think legally I’m obligated tell you they’re not real silver and real gold. I don’t need any villagers torching my cottage. Winners will be contacted ASAP.
Just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below!
Please note: Cheaters will be disqualified. I can’t believe I have to put this shit on a website for GROWN UPS, but here we are.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Prost and good luck!
WHAT GETS YOU MOST EXCITED FOR OKTOBERFEST?
LET ME KNOW BELOW!
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